Cycling | One comment
By: Jean-François Quénet
Is Kiserlovski Liquigas’s next big thing?
Robert Kiserlovski finished his first Grand Tour Giro d’ Italia 10th overall. Croatian is also second best young rider. Richie Porte isn’t the only rookie occupying the top ten of the Giro d’Italia at his first attempt to a Grand Tour.
Croatian Robert Kiserlovski (Liquigas)
Croatian Robert Kiserlovski hasn’t been able to challenge the Australian for the white jersey of best young rider because he got sick before the final week and he has had to put himself at the service of Ivan Basso. He sits ninth overall heading into the final stage.
“For four days I’ve had a stomach upset because of a virus”, Kiserlovski told Cyclingnews prior to the start of stage 20 in Bormio.
Robert in the white jersey as the best young rider after first few stages
“Unfortunately, during these four days, we had to climb the Monte Grappa, the Zoncolan and Plan de Corones. I felt a bit better during the uphill time trial. But I have to work on my time trialing. That’s something I’ll focus on soon.”
Nevertheless, the 23-year-old from Rijeka, who still lives in his country remains one of the revelations of the Giro d’Italia after winning the Giro dell’Appennino in late April.
Robert (right) with teammate and winner of the 2010 Giro d’ Italia Ivan Basso.
“I’m very happy”, he said. “This is my first Grand Tour. I didn’t have a lot of experience. For the future, it’s cool.”
Kiserlovski is one of the most impressive riders of his generation. The Liquigas-Doimo team has a lot of talents coming up behind their stars with Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani, Daniel Oss and Davide Cimolai. The Croatian transferred from Fuji-Servetto, a team he joined after the fall out of Amica Chips one year ago.
“This young guy is a Croatian miracle”, said his good friend Matija Kvasina, who has been Croatia’s best cyclist in recent years.
Young Robert winning one of the races…
“Cycling is getting very popular in Croatia during this Giro”, Kiserlovski added. “I got a lot of press. I’m like a hero. I’m introduced as the first Croatian in the top 10 of a Grand Tour. But I want more. I want to finish in the top three of one of the three Grand Tours. I’m more of a climber but I can do everything if I’m strong.”
Robert when he was riding for Croatian junior national team (second from the right)
On the finishing line of Passo del Tonale, Kiserlovski was delighted. Not only had he worked like a mad dog in defence of Basso’s pink jersey but he also kept his position in the top 10, probably for good.
Robert in the Croatian national jersey during the race in Croatia.
“If Marco Pinotti does a great time trial, he might pass me and take the ninth place overall but I don’t think that Damiano Cunego will beat me by 2.39, so I should be tenth at the worst”, the Croatian told Cyclingnews. “This is unbelievable: to help a champion like Basso winning and to finish in the top 10 of my first Grand Tour, I couldn’t have asked for more.”